Definition of hiatus
1a : a break in or as if in a material object : gap <the weedy hiatus between the town and the railroad — Willa Cather> <the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party — J. G. Colton>b biology : a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ
2a : an interruption in time or continuity : break; especially : a period when something (as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted <after a 5-year hiatus from writing> <a summer hiatus>b : the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound
Examples of hiatus in a sentence
The band is making an album again after a five-year hiatus.
<steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground>
Did You Know?
Hiatus comes from "hiare," a Latin verb meaning "to gape" or "to yawn," and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of "the hiatus in Phutatorius's breeches." These days, "hiatus" is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).
Origin and Etymology of hiatus
Latin, from hiare to yawn — more at yawn
First Known Use: 1563
HIATUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of hiatus for English Language Learners
: a period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped
Medical Definition of hiatus
: a gap or passage through an anatomical part or organ; especially : an opening through which another part or organ passes (such as the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus and vagus nerves pass)
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